It has been three years since sports betting became legal in the United States and while there has been tremendous progress since the PASPA-repeal, there are still sports fans who insist on betting on offshore sites instead of one of the many legal alternatives across the country.
Some sports bettors have no choice but to bet on offshore sportsbooks, however, and this week we got the chance to speak to one of them: Jim (not his real name). Jim is an avid sports bettor who was kind enough to share his thoughts on why he bets on sports offshore and what it would take for him to switch to a legal U.S. sportsbook.
Thanks, Jim for taking the time for this interview. Let’s start with some quick background questions. How old are you and in which state do you live?
I am 24 years old and I live in New York State.
Would you describe yourself as a novice, experienced, or pro bettor?
I would say I am a novice-experienced better. The experience just comes from the fact that I have been betting since I was 18.
How often do you bet on sports?
Daily. Love it.
If mobile betting was available in your state, would you switch to a licensed sportsbook?
It really depends. I would say the best thing about licensed sportsbooks is that the live in-play betting capabilities are a lot better than the offshore stuff. However, there is a convenience that the offshore books provide, like not having to make deposits and weekly payouts that reset balances to zero.
Which sports do you most frequently bet on?
NFL/MLB/NBA get a pretty even distribution depending on season and time of year.
How much do you spend on average on sports betting?
Hard to say– my bet sizes usually range from $50-150 per wager if that gives a clear-ish picture.
How often do you get a return on your bets?
I have been hitting at close to 60% in MLB this year, so that’s fun. Outside of that, NFL usually hovers around 50-55% success rate. NFL was brutal in 2020. I am still gambling after six years, so clearly I’ve been winning enough to stick around. In my career as a bettor I have a positive ROI, so that’s what sticks.
Does your winning affect your betting behavior?
I try to keep my unit sizes and plays as consistent as possible. I find unit switching to get rather muddy and lead to more losses.
Do you ever pay for picks or read about the free picks provided online?
Yes, almost all the time. Mostly because I like reading other people’s opinions and then having an inner dialogue with it disagreeing or agreeing. I find it to be a really good exercise for making solid picks over time.
I may not necessarily pay for picks, but I will read a lot of stuff online before making picks. Twitter is also a really good resource, lots of free cappers.
What is good about the offshore sites that you use?
Convenience, payouts weekly, no deposits needed. Also sometimes the bookie is a buddy of mine. You don’t get that feel from a licensed sportsbook. There is definitely a familiarity factor involved. It might sound counterintuitive, but your money feels safe.
Have you ever bet on a site like DraftKings or Pointsbet?
Yes, once or twice.
If so, what did you think about their sportsbooks?
To be honest, I was not in love with it. However, I would only use it for a day or two and I am someone that likes something that I am used to. I am sure if I started strictly using DraftKings I would like it. But I feel like there is room for improvement in the experience on some of these apps. I used the app, have never used the desktop version.
What do you think is the most important part of the betting experience for you?
Trustworthy payments and most up-to-date lines. User interface is huge too. How enjoyable is it to look at my screen. Also, CANCELLATIONS are key. I should be able to cancel ANY bet within a certain time frame after I placed it, especially if its immediately after I placed it and want to change it.
If you suddenly got $1000 to spend on sports betting, which sports would you bet on and in what way?
I’d probably just use it as a beginning bankroll and bet as I normally would. Just add it to my existing bankroll and keep plugging away as usual.
Do your friends bet and if so what do they say about their betting experiences? What’s most important to them when they bet?
My friends tend to have less discipline. I have had plenty of friends start betting and then be done a month later after losses. With those types of people I think they just want the immediate gains or they’re out.
I think what’s most important to them, is just trying to get rich, and I think you actually see that in basically every advertisement for licensed sportsbooks. Betting isn’t a get-rich-quick scheme, though, and should not be looked at as such if you want to succeed. The books want you to think it is a get-rich-quick scheme, though.
What do you think about in-play betting? Is it important for a sportsbook to offer live-betting for all sports?
Yes– Live betting is incredibly important. Huge fan of it.
Are there any sports that you would never bet on?
I’d probably dabble in just about anything.
Are there are non-sports events – like presidential elections – that you would bet on? If so, which ones and why?
I think award shows are a lot of fun to bet on, as well as political elections. More so because it’s just fun and a break from the usual serious daily picks I make and put real time into.
If you had the change to create the ultimate sports betting mobile app, what would that experience look like?
I’d probably incorporate a much greater peer-to-peer aspect. Everyone is betting against the book, which is great. But what about betting against your buddy within the app? Maybe that’s already a thing, but I think that would be a big part of my creation if I were to make an app.
Any final thoughts on the U.S. sports betting industry so far?
It’s only a matter of time before it’s legal basically everywhere. What I really hope is that recreational daily sports betting gets normalized. It should be looked at like anything else that you can do in moderation.
Right now there is a big negative stigma around betting in general, but those same people have a glass of wine every night. Let’s make the new nightly glass of wine a wager on the game, why not? It’s supposed to be fun, treating it like an evil thing just manifests that negative association in people. If we normalize it, it can become even more recreational and responsible.
Thanks Jim – much appreciated! I hope the operators are listening to bettors like you.
You’re welcome! I hope so too…